PTK Posts: Student Q&A with TRIO & Tutoring

Phi Theta Kappa logo with key on topMembers of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter at the Quad-Cities Campus are writing PTK Posts for their 2021 College Project. College Projects are a way for PTK chapters to engage and give back to their colleges.

The goal of PTK Posts is for Quad-Cities Campus PTK members to share student stories and information to help current and prospective BHC students be successful and happy with their college experience. Earlier this year, PTK officers conducted a survey of current BHC students/PTK members to ask what BHC services they had the most questions about.

Some of the top Black Hawk College resources students had questions about were TRIO Student Support Services and tutoring. Because of that, PTK vice president of fellowship C. Blaise Kinto interviewed Black Hawk College’s director of tutoring and TRIO, Lisa Hansen. Watch the full interview or read on to learn about TRIO and tutoring.

TRIO basics

Could you tell us about the TRIO program?

Sure, so the TRIO program is a (U.S.) Department of Education grant-funded program we have.

We provide additional resources to students who are low income by federal poverty guidelines; first generation, which means that neither parent completed a bachelor’s degree; and/or who have documented disabilities.

We assist them with these additional resources during their time at Black Hawk to help them graduate from Black Hawk with the associate degree of their choice, and then transfer on to a four-year college or university of their choice to complete that bachelor’s degree.

Joining TRIO

As a student at Black Hawk College, how can I join the TRIO program?

You can join TRIO as long as you’re eligible and we go through that eligibility process by having you fill out a TRIO application. So go to and there’ll be a red link on the right hand side, kind of down in the middle, that says “Apply to TRIO.” If you click that link, fill it out and hit SUBMIT, you’ll get the ball rolling and our wonderful program assistant Ashley Prunty will reach out to you for next steps.

What TRIO offers

So now that I know how to join TRIO, why should I join it?

So many reasons. Like I mentioned earlier, we are funded by the Department of Education, which means that we have additional money to do things specifically for TRIO, outside of the wonderful resources that Black Hawk already provides.

Our TRIO advisors work on academic and/or personal goal planning with students, including transfer planning. We do things like campus visits, so we head to universities and colleges so that you can check out the campus and get a feel for it as you decide where you want to transfer to. We also do academic workshops like study skills, note taking, and financial literacy workshops.

We partner with Financial Aid for FAFSA completion, but then also things like partner with the local banks to do things about credit and budgeting. Then we have this really great thing called StudentLingo that also has modules you can complete at your own pace, and iGrad, which is a super cool financial literacy software where you can do national scholarship searches all the time.

We can also teach you about how to manage debt, that kind of thing, and even follow you through to retirement where you can look at investments and things like that. We also do fun things like cultural activities. Obviously with COVID we haven’t been able to do very much, but pre-COVID in November and December (2019), we went to Chicago to see the Broadway play “Hamilton,” which was quite lovely.

We also have TRIO book reserves with the Black Hawk library, so if paying for books is an issue for you, you can request with your TRIO advisor for us to secure the book for your class. We work with the library to have it on the shelf there, and you’re able to check that out and you use it as you see fit. I probably left out some stuff, but we just want to work with you so that we can get you the resources that you need to be successful.

Weekend tutoring

Let’s say I work during the week, I don’t have a time to meet with a tutor, and I’m only available on the weekends. Is there any way for me to meet them on the weekend?

So for tutors – and tutoring is a separate department from TRIO – any college-level Black Hawk College student can use the Tutoring Center, but TRIO students are guaranteed a one-on-one Side view of Tutoring Center deskappointment if they request one. We do have some weekend availability. It’s based on tutor schedules, so to request a tutor appointment for any time, including the weekend, you would go In a gold rectangle it’ll say “Request a tutor.” Click there, fill out that form, and Jessica Jackson, our wonderful tutoring coordinator, will work with the tutors and you to secure a time that works for both of you.

Remote tutoring

Everything is virtual now. Let’s say a student is taking online classes and doesn’t have to come to the campus. Does TRIO have online tutoring or just in person?

We didn’t have remote tutoring before COVID-19, but with the shutdown we learned very quickly how to be remote and currently have virtual walk-in hours, which are through Zoom. Go to and scroll down until you see those Zoom links. It will note them by subject, and those are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, but we do have some evening hours. With reopening in Illinois, we plan to have walk-in hours on campus in fall and going forward. So in the fall, you could do both, because we do see that people absolutely want that remote availability now, so we will keep both. Those evening hours will be available remote only because the campus is closed in the evening.

Fun fact

Last question: What is one thing we don’t know about the Black Hawk College TRIO program?

TRIO is not an acronym. Most people think it is, so they’ll ask what TRIO stands for. The name is because there were three programs that the Department of Education created at the same time, and ours is Student Support Services, but that’s typically something people don’t know about TRIO.

Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society for two-year college students. Black Hawk College has a PTK chapter at each campus. The honor society focuses on leadership, fellowship, service and scholarship. Our members lead the chapter each year, hold meetings and activities to help students build a network with other students, participate together in service opportunities on campus and in the community, and are recognized for their high academic success. PTK has many scholarship opportunities for members, whether they are transferring to another college or joining the workforce after BHC. For more information about PTK, visit or email our Quad-Cities Campus Chapter Advisor Nicole Banks.